Top Line: Kings in the White House, Laviolette on thinner ice, more links

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Unlike a former Bruins goalie, the Kings were jazzed to visit the White House. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings meet President Obama at the White House.

By Allan Muir

A notated guide to this morning's must-read hockey stories:

• Here are a couple takes on yesterday's visit to the White House by the Los Angeles Kings from and the Los Angeles Times.

• President Obama couldn't resist taking a jab at the Kings for beating his hometown Blackhawks.

• In the wake of a passionless effort against the Rangers, several Flyers said they weren't prepared to play against New York. That makes seven losses in nine games for Philly and drops them to 14th in the East. So, how much longer until Peter Laviolette joins Guy Boucher on the unemployment line?

Sidney Crosby's goal and a shared shutout powered Pittsburgh to a 13th consecutive victory.

• The Canadiens aren't hanging their heads after the loss to the Pens. I really liked Jeff Halpern's performance in his first game since being picked up on waivers. He was good on the draw (11-of-17) and was aggressive on the penalty kill.

• With six goals in five games since returning from a broken arm, Joffrey Lupul is proving that last season wasn't a career year. It was the start of something big.

• You know Tampa Bay rookie Cory Conacher is making some noise if the New York Times is doing a feature on him.

• The Blue Jackets aren't playing with the same tenacity that marked their successful homestand, but they managed to steal a point from Vancouver thanks to another impressive effort from Sergei Bobrovsky.

• The view from Vancouver? "The game was so bad, so offensive on so many levels", but it revealed something about the Canucks and their identity.

• This is pure greatness: A loving tribute to Vancouver's history at the trade deadline.

• Although Jarome Iginla has reportedly approved a trade to just four teams, Calgary GM Jay Feaster only needs two to create a bidding war.

• Kirk Luedeke thinks one of those teams better be the Boston Bruins.

• Minnesota GM Chuck Fletcher is in no hurry to re-sign any of his free agents.

• Desperation should have powered the Hurricanes, but the Winnipeg Jets were the hungrier team on Tuesday night. It was a nice change of pace from a squad that's been getting outworked too often of late.

• Jamal Mayersturned to former teammate Keith Tkachuk for advice. Looks like it paid off.

• Sheldon Souray says returning to a more physical style is the surest way for the Ducks to break their three-game losing skid.

• Claude Julien's brief line shifting experiment is over. He'll return to the regular units for tonight's key match against the Habs.

• A strong performance against Phoenix has returned Jonas Gustavsson to the good graces of Red Wings coach Mike Babcock.

• An amateurism violation cost Anaheim draft pick Nic Kerdiles the first 10 games of his freshman season at Wisconsin. Since then, the Badgers are 21-5-5 with him in the lineup, making Kerdiles one to watch during the NCAA tournament.

• TV ratings are up across the league, but the numbers the Penguins are drawing are stunning. "The Penguins’ 11.87 local rating is the highest [regional sports network] rating for any team in any sport since the Boston Red Sox averaged a 12.2 rating on NESN during its 2007 World Series winning run."

• It's not unusual to hear of an athlete changing citizenship in order to compete internationally, but this is a first.

a line brawl during Player of the Game ceremonies